as BLOC Weekend goes into administration, who is at fault?

is it the organisers, or the use of eticketing?

published: Wed 11th Jul 2012

around the festival site (Friday)

Friday 6th to Saturday 7th July 2012
London Pleasure Gardens, Royal Victoria Docks, London, England MAP
£99 both days - sold out, or £55 for a day ticket
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Sat 7th Jul 2012

The Bloc Weekender Festival was set to be one of the events of the summer with a strong line-up, an otherworldly location, and even the weather holding off for the weekend at the London Pleasure Gardens in East London, but on Friday night the event was halted by Police and organisers.
around the festival site

The festival was headlined by Snoop Dogg and Doom with electronic act Amon Tobin, amongst numerous other acts set to play including Gary Numan, and Orbital.

eFestivals has spoken to an inside source at London Pleasure Gardens (LPG) who suggested that the blame should not be levelled at the organisers but instead feels that there was a problem with ticket seller's electronic ticketing and gate entry system. They told us that they believe that "at the heart of this problem is the use of eTickets to control the event".

Our source at LPG said, "the problems came due to overcrowding with too many tickets being issued and then not being handled correctly. LPG and Bloc then worked together to ensure everyone's safety by closing the event."

In a statement by the ticket agents, CrowdSurge, which Music Week have published today (here), which sees them deny they have any responsibility for any mistakes does reveal,
"CrowdSurge were advised to 'shut down' scanners at 21.27pm on Friday 6th July 2012, whilst the queuing barriers were reorganized. At this point 8,000 people had been given access to the site. The entry gates were reopened and scanning and personal searches ceased as per the request of Baselogic and London Pleasure Gardens staff. At no point throughout the scanning process did the scanners cease to operate."
around the festival site (Friday)
The question has to be asked: if there were no problem with the ticketing system at the gate, why was it necessary to shut down the entrance?

CrowdSurge were tasked with providing an online software purchasing application; an e-ticket solution; box office management and site entry scanners. eFestivals has this morning spoken to the Metropolitan Police who confirmed the decision to close the event was made by the organisers "due to fears of overcrowding", as was the decision to not run the event the following day. The Metropolitan Police spokesman did also confirm that there would be "no further investigation made into ticketing problems."

From our own reviewer's account of events we believe that before Snoop Dogg took to the stage the event had reached capacity, 'sparking these fears of overcrowding' and yet there were thousands more in queues outside with tickets trying to gain entry for the evening.

Whilst it's anecdotal, there's some suggestions put forward by eye witnesses in the queue that say they saw additional tickets being handed out. Sources tell us they they believe that there were even ticket buyers who had ordered day tickets but were sent weekend tickets, and the problem with the e-ticket system is that it enabled too many people to be able to try and enter the venue.

With too many people trying to enter on Friday, and with no guarantee that there wouldn't be the same overcapacity problems on Saturday the decision was then made by the organisers to cancel the whole event.

Bloc have today issued a statement, (click here), saying:
"It is with great sadness that we announce Baselogic Productions (who you all know as Bloc) has been placed into administration following the events of Friday evening. The team are working hard with the administrators to investigate the issues that led to the closure of the event and people will be updated as and when we have new information. We ask that you allow the administrators time to conduct a thorough investigation so we can establish the facts.

Amon Tobin
Once again we would like to apologise for all of the frustration and disappointment this situation has caused and thank everyone who has supported the team over the years, your continued support means so much to us.

Please see below a press release from Parker Andrews, the appointed administrators.

Parker Andrews appointed administrators for Base Logic Productions Ltd t/a Bloc.

On 11 July 2012, Baselogic Productions Ltd trading as Bloc voluntarily entered administration. The appointed administrator is Jamie Playford of Parker Andrews Insolvency Practitioners. An investigation into the facts leading to Baselogic Productions and the administration will be conducted immediately by Parker Andrews and a further statement will be issued in due course. Jamie Playford said: "It is important that we understand the full facts including what funds will be available to creditors and ticketholders and to ensure the information we provide about the next stages of administration is clear and concise"
Depending upon who you believe it seems the fault is either with the organisers or the ticket sellers, until the dust settles and evidence is collected there's no certainty about who was at fault. Our source feels the Bloc team's action has been forced and that it's so unfair because the organisers had worked so hard to get the event happening, and having too many people outside their event was not their fault.

Both LPG and Bloc are currently trying to gather evidence to support their argument that too many tickets were in circulation outside the event, and have appealed to festival goers to inform them of any irregularity in ticket sales.

What is clear is that a system touted as reducing queues clearly does not succeed in doing that, as there were long lines of people waiting at Bloc's gates even before the 'switch off'. Our source concluded, "It might be a recurring theme with eTicketing, people feel you can do an Easyjet style thing with festivals, but you can't it's a totally different structure."

Friday 6th to Saturday 7th July 2012
London Pleasure Gardens, Royal Victoria Docks, London, England MAP
£99 both days - sold out, or £55 for a day ticket
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Sat 7th Jul 2012

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